Northmont sets COVID-19 safety guidelines

By Marilyn McConahay Contributing writer

CLAYTON — What will it be like for Northmont students and district employees as they head back to school following a summer extensively defined by a life-changing virus?

By now, the staff and students’ families will have received copies of the Northmont City Schools Reset and Restart Plan, updated for the 2020-21 school year. The plan is subject to further tweaking by the time school is back in session on Aug.18.

The plan was conceived in response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to provide a safe environment. The content is based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Public Health – Dayton and Montgomery County.

“Yes, it’s subject to change and is continually fluid,” said school officials at the July 13 Northmont School Board meeting.

District educators and school board members have been working hard to be ready with all bases covered. Presentation of the plan’s content was the focus of the regular monthly board meeting.

Updated July 14, the document is nearly 14 pages long. The introduction states the purpose and the guiding principles of the plan.

The introductory paragraph states, “The purpose of the plan and document is to aid Northmont City School District employees in navigating the reestablishment of our school system where employees, students, and families feel safe and to reduce the impact of COVID-19 conditions upon returning to the district. Regular updates will be made to this plan based on information provided by the CDC and applicable federal, state and local agencies.”

The first principle sets forth the goal of caring for students and adults, following such safety processes as vigilantly assessing themselves for symptoms, washing and sanitizing hands to prevent spread, thoroughly cleaning the school environment, practicing social distancing and implementing a face-covering policy.

Secondly, prioritizing student learning and ensuring effective teaching are addressed, emphasizing flexibility and choice of how students will learn — either by face-to-face or remote learning including training for instructional staff on best practices for blended and remote learning.

Every facet affecting the safe operation of the schools is addressed in the document, including such things as a requirement for students to self-screen for symptoms before heading to school.

This means those individuals will need to check their temperature readings and assess any coughing, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, loss of sense of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion, runny nose, nausea or vomiting and diarrhea, all of which will be kept confidential if reported.

Guidelines are provided for how to handle any incidents of exposures, including quarantine at home and alternate forms of learning during that time.

In addition to the myriad of situations, preparations and solutions, signage with such messages as “This cafeteria is regularly disinfected,” “Visitors by appointment only,” and “Maximum capacity,” will be placed throughout the schools and offices.

Anyone who needs access to the complete guidelines and has not received a copy can contact the schools at (937) 832-5000.

During each school year, a student representative is sworn in to sit on the school board and participate in voting along with the regular members. Board President Linda Blum performed the swearing-in ceremony of Philip A. Quansah, this year’s student rep, who then took his seat at the table with the other board members.

The next regular Northmont School Board meeting will be at 6 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 10, at the Northmont High School ROTC Room, 4916 W. National Road, Clayton.

By Marilyn McConahay Contributing writer